Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, July 27, 2006


As the security situation continues to deteriorate in Lebanon, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) announced recently that it will begin accepting tracing requests from Filipinos who have lost contact with their relatives in the war-torn country.

“The program will enable immediate families of Filipino workers in Lebanon to send a short message or restore links with their missing relatives,” said PNRC chairman Richard J. Gordon in an interview. “But let me emphasize that this is only for people who have already lost contact with their loved ones.”

Under this program, families can send tracing requests to the PNRC, together with the necessary information to help locate their missing relatives in Lebanon.

As is the procedure with international cases, the PNRC will forward tracing requests to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), which has delegates in Lebanon. In behalf of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the ICRC is providing overall leadership in and around the Lebanon crisis.

To the best of its capacity, the ICRC delegation will act on the requests and then report back to the PNRC. However, due to the large number of Filipinos and other nationals displaced, it may not be possible to systematically address the huge task of ensuring that all families restore contact during this difficult period.

Aside from Lebanon, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in neighboring countries including Syria, Cyprus, Egypt and Turkey have been requested to alert the PNRC if Filipinos have taken shelter in their respective countries.

“We already requested other National Societies to give us an update on Filipinos who have evacuated to their respective countries so we can inform their families here,” said Gordon. “We also asked them to take care of our OFWs and to extend relief assistance to them.”

The continued heavy bombing in south Lebanon, Beirut and other areas have led large numbers of people, aided by their respective governments, to head north or leave the country altogether.

The PNRC is in close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs with regard to evacuation operations and provision of relief goods to Filipino nationals.

Meanwhile, the ICRC and various Red Cross National Societies continue to distribute relief supplies to displaced families who have fled the hostilities.

For its part, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS), expecting another 15,000 evacuees in the coming weeks, has set up four small assistance points at border crossings with Lebanon and is providing food, water, first aid and free mobile phone service.

Tracing is one of the services offered by the Social Services arm of the PNRC. The aim is to restore and maintain contacts between families separated by disasters and armed conflict here and abroad. From January-June 2006, a total of 512 families have already been reunited through its efforts.

The PNRC is open to tracing requests for Filipino workers in Lebanon. For more inquiries, please visit or call the PNRC National Headquarters on Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila, with tel. nos. 527-0000 (loc. 126-127) and 527-0867. Or visit their website at www.redcross.org.ph.


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